Baylor big man Jonathan Motley was star struck when the Miami Heat contingent walked into the room for his interview this week at the NBA Draft Combine. “I just was really honored that I felt important enough to have Pat Riley and (Erik) Spoelstra in the room,” said the 6-foot-10 Motley, who expects to set up a private workout in Miami.
The Heat – and the rest of the league – wrapped up their interviews Friday as the combine winds down. In all, Miami met with 20 players including Florida small forward Devin Robinson on Friday and two players whose seasons were cut short because of ACL tears – small forward OG Anunoby of Indiana and power forward Chris Boucher of Oregon.
Nick Friedell: Interesting note: DeAaron Fox said spoke to the Bulls' front office during his time at the Combine.
Marc Berman: D'Aaron Fox said "cool'' meeting Phil. "He was more like staring at me, trying to feel me out.'' He didn't mention triangle.
Al Iannazzone: De'Aaron Fox on triangle: "I don’t know too much about the triangle. Everyone says it’s hard to learn." But he said he'd learn it quickly.
Tania Ganguli: De'Aaron Fox on why one needs good PG in Pacific div: "You’re playing against Chris Paul 4 times, Steph Curry 4, D’Angelo Russell 4 times."
Tania Ganguli: De'Aaron Fox said the Lakers probably had the fewest people in the room during their meeting. Said he would love to have Magic as a mentor.
Jessica Camerato: Fox met with the Sixers today, said he could see himself fitting in with Simmons and Embiid on the court.
Adam Zagoria: De'Aaron Fox says he'd love to play with Kristaps Porzingis with the #Knicks and would embrace the pressure of NYC
Jason Quick: First team Gonzaga big man Zach Collins met with at NBA Combine: Portland. Said they gave him a computer and had him take personality test
Vincent Ellis: Gonzaga center Zach Collins has met with the #Pistons. Early word at #NBACombine is he won't be available at 12.
Tania Ganguli: Indiana forward OG Anunoby met with the Lakers at the combine. Said Magic Johnson was energetic. There was lots of talk of defense.
The Orlando Magic interviewed University of Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox on Friday at the NBA Draft Combine.
On Friday, the Magic also interviewed Oregon wing Dillon Brooks, Wisconsin power forward Nigel Hayes, Maryland wing Justin Jackson, Iowa State point guard Monte Morris and Xavier point guard Edmond Sumner.
Adam Zagoria: Duke's Frank Jackson told me he's met with Boston, San Antonio, Charlotte, Utah, New Orleans, Detroit, Sacramento & the Knicks. Story coming
Vincent Ellis: UCLA C Ike Anigbogu said his very first meeting at the combine was with the #Pistons. He says he felt right at ease.
Manny Navarro: Arizona point guard Kobi Simmons and and Colorado guard Derrick White Jr. said they interviewed with #Heat No word on future workouts
Vincent Ellis: Michigan's D.J. Wilson says he interviewed with the #Pistons. Injured quad on 1st day of workouts with #Spurs. Also worked out for #Jazz.
Manny Navarro: Can confirm 2 more #Heat interviews here at combine: Baylor PF/C Johnathan Motley and Iowa State PG Monte Morris. Workouts coming they say
Their fact-finding began in earnest this week in Chicago. As of Thursday afternoon, the Mavericks had interviews with 16 players, including Creighton's Justin Patton, Baylor's Jonathan Motley, SMU's Semi Ojeleye and Florida State's Dwayne Bacon.
Eddie Sefko: Baylor's Jonathan Motley measured in just under 6-9 with shoes but had 7-4 wing span. Early word is he has impressed people in one-on-ones
The Orlando Magic interviewed North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson, Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans, Utah power forward Kyle Kuzma and Michigan power forward D.J. Wilson among others Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine.
Justin Jackson would be a solid option for the Sixers. Mocks drafts have the North Carolina swingman going anywhere from No. 10 to No. 27. He was aware of the possible scenario when he met with the Sixers Thursday morning at the NBA draft combine. By the end of the interview, both sides were impressed. "It was really good," Jackson said. "They were a great group of men. . . . It was kind of back and forth. So it was a good time."
CSNChicago.com spoke to several league executives and scouts in attendance, and while the opinions varied, they certainly understood the position players — or more specifically, their agents are in, at least in terms of the workouts. “I want to see guys compete,” an Eastern Conference scout said. “Even if he misses every shot, going against a guy who’s a mid-round pick and watching how they handle the competition tells you part of their mental makeup. Their body of work won’t be discounted over two days here.”
A Western Conference President agreed but said if he had a son or a client who’s slated in the top 5, he would advise him against coming to the combine. “It can’t do anything but cost you money. That’s the honest truth,” he said. “We have better just done all of our homework when it comes to making the right selection. It’s on us.”
“Tell me one thing they get out of it?” queried a Western Conference executive. “If I was an agent, and I have a guy like Josh Jackson (Kansas), what good is it that Josh Jackson comes in? He’s gonna go in the top 2-3 anyways. He’s not gonna play. None of them are gonna play. He’s gonna interview where he’s (likely) gonna go.”
“He may be right,” Calipari said of Durant's comments about bypassing the NBA draft combine. “For the guys, if you think there’s anything here that would hurt you, don’t come. If there’s anything here that would help you, come. If you have to play to help yourself, come. If it doesn’t help you playing then don’t play.
John Calipari: "This is for these kids. My job is to protect my guys. The job of these NBA teams is to get as much information as they can to make a great pick, so they would like to see every one of them play five-on-five, do all of ... it’s not the way it is for these kids."
College basketball's National Player of the Year Frank Mason III is at the NBA combine this week. During a 5-on-5 drill, he caught up with ESPN's Jeff Goodman to speak about the combine experience. Goodman asked Mason what was the weirdest question he got during the interview process, and things turned dark rather quickly. He was asked to choose how he'd like to die.
Mason said: "I said in my sleep because I wouldn't want to suffer from any pain or anything. So I'd just rather be sleeping around my son and my family."
Michael Scotto: Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky) says he's met with 10 teams, including the Brooklyn Nets. Diallo has NOT met with the New York Knicks as of now.
Sean Deveney: Hamidou Diallo on his 44.5 inch vertical: "I didn't know it was that high until someone told me"
Rod Beard: Wake Forest big man John Collins and Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell said they are schedule to meet with the #Pistons.
Josh Robbins: FSU guard Dwayne Bacon said Portland, Indiana, OKC and New Orleans are among the 9 teams that have interviewed him. He has 3 more tomorrow.
Manny Navarro: #Gators forward Devin Robinson (6-7) said he has a meeting with #Heat scheduled for tomorrow morning
Nick Friedell: UCLA's TJ Leaf says he has not met with the Bulls yet, but expects to during his time in Chicago.
Rod Beard: NBA announces that #Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox will not be available to the media today. Most teams wouldn't be able to draft him anyway.
Brian Seltzer: Cal's Ivan Rabb said that in meeting with Sixers, it stood out to him that team showed him clips, positive and negative, from career. pic.twitter.com/ua9K88HL5b
Vincent Ellis: Justin Jackson says he thinks he's meeting with #Pistons tomorrow. Sweet shooter from UNC.
Nick Friedell: Creighton's Justin Patton said he was surprised by how much the Bulls knew about him during his meeting with the team.
Rod Beard: #Michigan's Moritz Wagner said he's worked out for Utah and OKC and met with #Pistons, #TWolves and #Blazers. #NBAdraftcombine
Adam Zagoria: Steve Mills and Allan Houston part of the Knicks crew here at the Combine pic.twitter.com/f0SRNMVtV7
Tania Ganguli: Luke Walton, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka arrived a bit ago to the gym for the combine. Former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is also here.
Chris Vivlamore: Hawks assistant GM Jeff Peterson and assistant coaches Charles Lee and Ben Sullivan at NBA Draft Combine as shown on ESPN.
Keith Pompey: The #Sixers did not interview #Kentucky PG De'Aaron Fox this morning. They will do so tomorrow morning. pic.twitter.com/btDKpnbwjw
Markelle Fultz’s time at the NBA Draft Combine will be brief, and it will not include an interview with the Orlando Magic, sources told the Orlando Sentinel.
Tony Jones: Former Utes star Kyle Kuzma interviewed with The Sixers and Memphis Grizzlies tonight, league sources tell The Salt Lake Tribune
Tony Jones: Former Lone Peak star Frank Jackson will meet with 12 teams at the Draft combine, including the Utah Jazz, league sources tell The Tribune
Kevin Durant, who 10 years ago failed to bench-press 185 pounds even once but still was drafted No. 2 overall by the Seattle SuperSonics, isn't discouraged by this recent trend. In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, Durant said he wished it had started before he embarked on his professional career. "Stay your ass home, work out and get better on your own time," Durant suggested of potential top prospects.
"I remember it like it was yesterday," Durant said, as he readjusted his body to get comfortable in his seat. "All the strength coaches were laughing at me and s---. They were giggling with each other that I couldn't lift 185 pounds, and I was like, 'All right, keep laughing. Keep laughing.' It was a funny thing, because I was the only one that couldn't lift it and I was struggling to lift it. I was embarrassed at that point, but I'm like, 'Give me a basketball, please. Give me a ball.' "
Mark Medina: Luke Walton will be with the Lakers' front office this week in Chicago for the NBA combine. Part of the Lakers' synergy/collaboration
Adam Zagoria: LSU's Antonio Blakeney and Louisville's Mangok Mathiang are confirmed for the @ProBBallCombine, per source.
On May 11-12, 67 NBA hopefuls will pour into a gym in Chicago to be measured, tested, interviewed, and do what they can to impress the NBA scouts and GMs in attendance. Markelle Fultz, the likely No. 1 pick, will be there. The point guard almost certainly will not get on the court, but he will get measured and interviewed.
Other expected guys to go in the Top 5 are not showing up — Lonzo Ball of UCLA, Josh Jackson of Kansas, and Jayson Tatum of Duke all declined their invitations.
June 23, 2021 | 9:04 am EDT Update
While McMillan is the team’s “interim’’ head coach, sources made it abundantly clear Hawks management would love to remove the interim title. However, sources also said the 56-year-old McMillan has some reservations whether he wants to be the permanent head coach and may prefer some other role in the organization. Money won’t factor into McMillan’s decision as he is financially set, sources said.
The 24-year-old is just fearless, and it’s that kind of bravado that has everything to do with the Suns taking these two games without Chris Paul while he continues to go through COVID protocol. Beverley bothered him defensively, but Booker never backed down. I asked him afterward if their back-and-forth was good, old-fashioned playoff basketball, or if perhaps Beverley and the Clippers were going too far with the physicality. “That’s for you guys to decide,” he said. “They’re an aggressive team. That’s how they guard. All those guys, they’re athletic. Watching the previous series against Dallas and Utah, (they’re) switching everything and trying to turn teams over. But we’re figuring it out and we try to stay aggressive, stay with what we do and whether it’s basketball plays or not, we’ve got to move on to the next one.”
“CP has taken Cam Payne under his wing,” he said. “When you see Cam Payne coming into practice with Chris Paul, you’re wondering, you know — Chris Paul is usually the one here early and you see Cam Payne right behind him and you tend to ask questions, them two been together watching film, lifting weights together stuff like that. You could tell that Cam really took a different approach to a whole other level and he did it right in front of our eyes. Like I said, he was bound to have one of these games and he’s a guy who keeps it consistent. He plays hard both ends of the ball, and I just love his passion.”
“We want everybody to cherish this moment because we are built for this,” Antetokounmpo said. “That’s why we are here. No matter the pressure, no matter what’s going on, we are built for this. We believe in who we are. No matter what happens, win or lose, we’ll stay together and we’re just going to go out there and compete.” Antetokounmpo delivered for the Bucks in the series finale against the Nets with 40 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. For the series, he averaged 28.8 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
Against Brooklyn, Antetokounmpo averaged 40.1 minutes per game, the most he has averaged in any series and by far the most he has averaged since Budenholzer became coach in 2018. Antetokounmpo played 50 of 53 minutes in Game 7. “I’ve prepared my body all year for moments like that, being able to play 40 minutes, 42, 45, 48, whatever it may be, 53,” he said. “(Budenholzer) knows the way I am. If I get tired I’m going to let him know. If I get tired and I need a 30-second break or a minute-break, usually we have a great way to communicate about that – that he can pull me out and put me right back.”
Two people who have played important roles behind the scenes for the Hawks are Larry Riley and Mike McNeive. Riley, once an assistant coach and scout for the Bucks, is a senior advisor to Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk. Before joining the Hawks, Riley played a major role in the enormous success of the Golden State Warriors as be drafted Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson while being the team’s general manager. McNeive, who worked as an advance scout and assistant coach for the Bucks during the George Karl regime, is the Hawks director of basketball operations.
June 23, 2021 | 5:32 am EDT Update
Sullivan is the author of “Can’t Knock the Hustle: Inside the Season of Protest, Pandemic, and Progress with the Brooklyn Nets’ Superstars of Tomorrow,” which released on Tuesday. In a conversation with our friends from Celtics Wire on their podcast, Celtics Lab, Sullivan said that Nets ownership was unhappy with Irving over his midseason “pause,” and that Irving could be available for the right offer.
Matt Sullivan: “Let me give you guys a little news, I’m not sure that’s been out there. I’ve heard that Nets ownership was quite upset with Kyrie’s ‘pause,’ especially that maskless party that turned his psuedo-paternity leave into more like a COVID suspension. And in the last week I’ve heard rumblings – whispers, really, because cracking the Nets is kind of like breaking into the Kremlin, that Brooklyn GM Sean Marks would maybe, possibly, apparently be willing to at least listen to a trade offer for Kyrie this offseason. Now, I’m not sure what the market for Kyrie is at this point. It’s not like Ben Simmons giving you the headache on the court. It’s that complex personality that comes from off the court. I think it’s been annoying some people in the franchise. I can’t speak to his teammates, who obviously want to play with one of the world’s best and get him back there.”